My personal motto is Know Yourself, Be Yourself, Love Yourself! God wants you and me to know who we are in Him. He wants us to be true to whom He has created us to be. Moreover, He wants us to love ourselves completely. However, before we can know who we are in God, we must give ourselves totally to Him.

When I say “give” what do I mean? To give means “to hand (something) over to (someone); or to freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone)”. I like how the second definition includes the word “freely”. In other words, to give is to do so “without restraint or reservation”. II Corinthians 9:7 (New Living Translation) says:

“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’”

So when you TRULY give, you’re not kicking and screaming like a child who is about to get a shot at the doctors’s office. You’re giving WILLINGLY, which is what God wants from us….to be willing givers! Like the verse says, as true givers we should be happy when we give! Giving should make us feel good!

God expects us to give because He’s a giver! Since we have been made in His image and likeness, we are to be like Him. We’re not to be equal to God or higher than God. Rather, we’re to emulate Him.

The first thing God requires that we give are our lives in total submission to Him. Because sin prevents us from submitting to God, according to Acts 20:21, the only way we’re ABLE to submit to God is by first repenting of our sins and accepting His Son Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Then, as we draw closer to God through prayer, worship, and studying the scriptures, His attributes come alive in us.

Galatians 5:22-23b (King James Version) say:

“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance…”

These verses describe God’s attributes which include love, gentleness, and goodness because again….God is a giver! In fact, what was the first thing God gave man? Genesis 2:7 (KJV) says:

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

So, what was the first thing God gave man? Yes, that’s right! LIFE!
God has given you life! God has given me life! As I used to always hear folks say back in the day during testimony service, “I woke up this morning in my right mind with the blood running warm in my veins and with the activities of my limbs!”

Christmas is in just a few days! For us believers, this is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For instance, we sing Christmas carols and put on plays to reenact the day He was born.

Many of us also decorate our homes with Christmas lights, put the Christmas tree up in the living room, hang Christmas stockings on the fireplace, drink hot chocolate, and watch our favorite Christmas movies, like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Home Alone, A Christmas Story, and my all-time favorite, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Christmas is also considered the season for giving. Many people give and receive gifts such as, money, gift cards, jewelry, clothes, shoes, coats, hats, toys, bicycles and video games. Pop singer Andy Williams described Christmas as “….. the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. For many, I believe that’s true. However, for others, that’s not at all the case.

According to the National Institute of Health (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201011/why-people-get-depressed-christmas), “Christmas is the time of year that people experience a high incidence of depression. Hospitals and police forces report high incidences of suicide and attempted suicide. Psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals report a significant increase in patients complaining about depression.”

The National Institute of Health states that depression typically occurs for those who feel alone, especially if they have loved ones who have passed away.

Also, some people feel the pressure of buying gifts they really can’t afford. So, to help deal with what is termed “Christmas depression,” the article offers some suggestions. Here are a few:

1. “If the depression is serious, seek out the help of a qualified mental health professional.”

This is an important tip because sometimes you need to talk to someone. If you keep everything bottled up inside, it will eventually come out in a negative way, like substance abuse or suicide.

2. “Set personal boundaries regarding the money spent on gifts.”

This is a great tip because, again, God loves a CHEERFUL giver. Therefore, you shouldn’t give anything that’s going to cause you anxiety. If you can’t afford it, or if you don’t believe it’s necessary, then don’t give it. Also, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty if you choose not to empty out your bank account or max out your credit cards for some Christmas presents, including your own children. This is actually a great time to teach them that Christmas is not about giving and receiving a bunch of presents, but about remembering what Christ did for us. Plus, there’s more that can be given besides material things, which brings me to the next tip.

3. “Become involved in giving in a non-monetary way through charities and worthwhile causes that help less fortunate people.”

This particular tip reminds us that giving involves more than just giving money and material things. Instead, you can give your talents and skills, your time, a listening ear, a prayer, a hug, a smile, advice, or a helping hand like volunteering at a soup-kitchen or at a nursing home.

4. “Be grateful for what you have in your life, rather than focusing on what you don’t have.”

This tip is very important because I Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in every situation, not just the situations we think are good, but EVERY situation.

So if you are experiencing any anxiety during this holiday season, let it go and give it to God! He doesn’t want you being weighed down by the pressures Christmas brings. Instead, He wants you to ENJOY this time with your family and friends. Most importantly, He wants you to give Him ALL the glory!!!

(Me pictured with my dad, brother & brother’s family)

If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you can do so right now. I then encourage you to find a good Bible-believing church that will help you grow in your relationship with the Lord.

Romans 10:9 (NIV) says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Please pray the following prayer:

Dear Jesus, I come to You confessing I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe You shed Your blood on the cross and died for my sins, were buried and rose again so I could be free! Please forgive me for my sins and the life I have lived. I confess You Jesus as Lord and accept You as my own personal Savior. According to the Word of God, I am now saved! Hallelujah! I AM FREE!


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